I paint the spirit and soul of what I see-
Do you recall drawing growing up? A pair of stick figures going for a pleasant bike ride, some puffy clouds and a brilliant sun overhead. Curved lines of a peaceful tree that punctuate the landscape, elevating from the ground, spreading into the unknown. Our childhood drawings were pure, innocent and beautiful. There is something truly magical about drawing and trees – They are, in fact, symbols of our soul.
Trees at times, can be dark and ominous. They cast a long suffocating shadow when we stray close enough. During the winter months, their barren, bleak blackness marks them against gray skies and freshly fallen snow. Tress are survivors of winter, and we would be wise to learn from them.
Trees are, after all, capable of heavenly feats, perhaps trees are more in tune with their true spirit than we are?
It’s so late I could cut my lights
and drive the next fifty miles
of empty interstate
flying along in a dream,
countryside alive with shapes and shadows,
but exit ramps lined
with eighteen wheelers
and truckers sleeping in their cabs
make me consider pulling into a rest stop
and closing my eyes. I’ve done it before,
parking next to a family sleeping in a Chevy,
mom and dad up front, three kids in the back,
the windows slightly misted by the sleepers’ breath.
But instead of resting, I’d smoke a cigarette,
play the radio low, and keep watch over
the wayfarers in the car next to me,
a strange paternal concern
and compassion for their well being
rising up inside me.
This was before
I had children of my own,
and had felt the sharp edge of love
and anxiety whenever I tiptoed
into darkened rooms of sleep
to study the small, peaceful faces
of my beloved darlings. Now,
the fatherly feelings are so strong
the snoring truckers are lucky
I’m not standing on the running board,
tapping on the window,
asking, Is everything okay?
But it is. Everything’s fine.
The trucks are all together, sleeping
on the gravel shoulders of exit ramps,
and the crowded rest stop I’m driving by
is a perfect oasis in the moonlight.
The way I see it, I’ve got a second wind
and on the radio an all-night country station.
Nothing for me to do on this road
but drive and give thanks:
I’ll be home by dawn.
Glass, air, ice, light,
and winter cold.
They stand on all the corners,
waiting alone, or in
groups that talk like the air
moving branches. It
is Christmas, and a red dummy
laughs in the window
of a store. Although
the trolleys come,
no one boards them,
but everyone moves
up and down, stamping his feet,
They are talking, each of them,
but it is sticks and stones
that hear them,
and memories of the old time.
The words fly out, over
the roads and onto
the big, idle farms, on the hills,
forests, and rivers
of America, to mix into silence
of glass, air, ice, light,
and winter cold.
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy-
The season of “peace” … Hanukkah, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Christmas, winter solstice, and New Years arrive once a year. Some folks look forward to this time – Others, like myself … Dread them. Can we peel away some of the stress, and find time for peaceful days?
I’m not a complete Scrooge – Really! I enjoy winter and the holiday season, all of the celebrations, traditions, and joyous gatherings they bring. And there are some tangible benefits we can reap from this time of year – like spending more face-to-face time with friends, rather than “liking” them on social media. Also hidden within the holidays are remedies for being a grinch and a curmudgeon. Such as joining family and old friends for a pick up hockey game, a walk after dinner or even a bike ride. For most of us though, the wear-and-tear of the most “Wonderful Time” of the year is simply too much to handle. As much as hibernation sounds like the perfect solution …
Meditation or whatever you want to call it, can truly bring us peace. Slow down with me this morning, let’s take in the lovely sights, the alluring scents and sounds that are traditional for this time of year … And as Cousin Eddie once said: “That’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.”
In Manhattan, I learned a public kindness
was a triumph
over the push of money, the constrictions
of fear. If it occurred it came
from some deep
primal memory, almost entirely lost—
Here, let me help you, then you me,
otherwise we’ll die.
Which is why I love the weather
in Minnesota, every winter kindness
to obvious self-interest,
thus so many kindnesses
when you need them;
praise blizzards, praise the cold.